Regulated rewriting

Regulated rewriting

Regulated rewriting is a specific area of formal languages studying grammatical systems which are able to take some kind of control over the production applied in a derivation step. For this reason, the grammatical systems studied in Regulated Rewriting theory are also called "Grammars with Controlled Derivations". Among such grammars can be noticed:

Matrix Grammars

Basic concepts

A Matrix Grammar, MG, is a four-tuple G = (N, T, M, S) where
1.- N is an alphabet of non-terminal symbols
2.- T is an alphabet of terminal symbols disjoint with T
3.- M = {m_1, m_2,..., m_n} is a finite set of matrices, which are non-empty sequences m_{i} = [p_{i},...,p_{i_{k(i)}}], with k(i)geq 1, and 1 leq i leq n, where each p_{i_{j}} 1leq jleq k(i), is an ordered pair p_{i_{j}} = (L, R) being L in (N cup T)^*N(Ncup T)^*, R in (Ncup T)^* these pairs are called "productions", and are denoted Lrightarrow R. In these conditions the matrices can be written down as m_i = [L_{i_{1}}rightarrow R_{i_{1}},...,L_{i_{k(i)}}rightarrow R_{i_{k(i)}}]
4.- S is the start symbol

Let MG = (N, T, M, S) be a matrix grammar and let P the collection of all productions on matrices of MG. We said that MG is of type i according to Chomsky's hierarchy with i=0,1,2,3, or "increasing length" or "linear" or "without lambda-productions" if and only if the grammar G=(N, T, P, S) has the corresponding property.

The classical example (taked from [5] with change of nonterminals names)

The context-sensitive language L(G) = { a^nb^nc^n : ngeq 1} is generated by the CFMG G =(N, T, M, S) where N = {S, A, B, C} is the non-terminal set, T = {a, b, c} is the terminal set, and the set of matrices is defined as M : left[Srightarrow abcright], left[Srightarrow aAbBcCright], left[Arightarrow aA,Brightarrow bB,Crightarrow cCright], left[Arightarrow a,Brightarrow b,Crightarrow cright].

Time Variant Grammars

Basic concepts
A Time Variant Grammar is a pair (G, v) where G = (N, T, P, S) is a grammar and v: mathbb{N}rightarrow 2^{P} is a function from the set of natural numbers to the class of subsets of the set the productions.

Programmed Grammars

Basic concepts


A Programmed Grammar is a pair (G, s) where G = (N, T, P, S) is a grammar and s, f: Prightarrow 2^{P} are the success and fail functions from the set of productions to the class of subsets of the set the productions.

Grammars with regular control language

Basic concepts

A Grammar With Regular Control Language, GWRCL, is a pair (G, e) where G = (N, T, P, S) is a grammar and e is a regular expression over the alphabet of the set the productions.

A naive example

Consider the CFG G = (N, T, P, S) where N = {S, A, B, C} is the non-terminal set, T = {a, b, c} is the terminal set, and the productions set is defined as P = {p_0, p_1, p_2, p_3, p_4, p_5, p_6} being p_0 = Srightarrow ABC p_1 = Arightarrow aA, p_2 = Brightarrow bB, p_3 = Crightarrow cC p_4 = Arightarrow a, p_5 = Brightarrow b, and p_6 = Crightarrow c. Clearly, L(G) = { a^*b^*c^*}. Now, considering the productions set P as an alphabet (since it is a finite set), define the regular expression over P: e=p_0(p_1p_2p_3)^*(p_4p_5p_6).

Combining the CFG grammar G and the regular expression e, we obtain the CFGWRCL (G,e) =(G,p_0(p_1p_2p_3)^*(p_4p_5p_6)) which generates the language L(G) = { a^nb^nc^n : ngeq 1}.

Besides there are other grammars with regulated rewriting, the four cited above are good examples of how to extend context-free grammars with some kind of control mechanism to obtain a Turing machine powerful grammatical device.


[1] Salomaa, Arto Formal languages Academic Press, 1973 ACM monograph series

[2] G. Rozenberg, A. Salomaa, (eds.) Handbook of formal languages Berlin; New York : Springer, 1997 ISBN 3540614869 (set) (3540604200 : v. 1; 3540606483 : v. 2; 3540606491: v. 3)

[3] Regulated Rewriting in Formal Language Theory Jurgen Dassow; G. Paun Pages: 308. Medium: Hardcover. Year of Publication: 1990 ISBN:0387514147. Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. Secaucus, NJ, USA

[4] Grammars with Regulated Rewriting Jurgen Dassow Otto-von-Guericke Available at: and ()

[5] Some questions of language theory S. Abraham in Proceedings of the 1965 International Conference On Computational Linguistics pp 1 - 11, Bonn, Germany Year of Publication: 1965 Available at:

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